1st Edition

Language, Sexism and Misogyny

By Deborah Cameron Copyright 2024
    190 Pages
    by Routledge

    190 Pages
    by Routledge

    In this vitally important and engaging text, leading feminist linguist Deborah Cameron explores the role of language and discourse in perpetuating sexism and misogyny in the twenty-first century.

    Covering how the linguistic expression of prejudice against women has evolved during the last fifty years, the author of the blog Language: A feminist guide pays attention both to the persistence of familiar problems, such as the dominance of men in many interactional settings, and to the emergence of new challenges such as the global rise of misogynist extremism online. The book provides students and general readers with an up-to-date survey of ideas, debates and research on a wide range of key topics, including sexist attitudes to women’s speech, verbal sexual harassment in public spaces offline and online, biases in vocabulary and grammar, the discourse of the online "manosphere" and the way violence against women is reported by the news media. Moreover, the author outlines the efforts activists have made to change sexist and misogynist language, asking what has been achieved so far, and how a new generation is addressing current concerns. Accessible, non-technical and informed by scholarship from a wide range of disciplines from linguistics and anthropology to history, media studies and sociology, this text is essential reading for courses on language and gender in English language, linguistics, women’s and gender studies, media and communication studies.

    Introduction: Have we come a long way, baby?

    1. Double standards: the policing of women’s language
    2. Unequal rights: attention, respect and male entitlement
    3. Coded messages: sexism, words and meanings
    4. Default male: sexism and grammar
    5. Who do you think you are? Sexism and forms of address
    6. Something old, something new: investigating misogynist discourse
    7. Telling stories: the reporting of violence against women
    8. Words and deeds: resisting sexism and misogyny



    Deborah Cameron is Professor of Language and Communication at Oxford University, UK. Her previous publications include Verbal hygiene, The feminist critique of language and On language and sexual politics. She regularly contributes to broadcasts and podcasts on language and gender, and blogs at Language: a feminist guide.

    "Deborah Cameron’s books are always a compelling and accessible read, and this is no exception. Based on sound scholarly research and illustrated with arresting examples from an impressive range of media and digital sources, her analyses demonstrate a deeply committed engagement with complex linguistic issues involving the treatment of women."

    Janet Holmes, Professor Emerita (Victoria University of Wellington), Associate Director, Language in the Workplace Project

    "This is an endlessly useful resource—for teachers and students to dip into for case studies and research examples, or as a detailed, nuanced and expansive discussion of how ideas about language linked to men and women have been developed, researched, resisted and weaponised over the last fifty years. Cameron transforms familiar and new academic ideas and research into an accessible and engaging read, using up-to-date, real world examples. This is a must-have text for teachers and students wanting to develop their understanding of language and gender research that is also a klaxon call to all those concerned about misogyny right now."

    Lisa, Jacky and Dan of the Lexis Podcast Team